PHOTO CREDIT “Chris Kolk for PEOPLE COUNTRY”

The Academy of Country Music has pledged $2.5 million to Working on a Building: Country Music Lives Here, the capital campaign that will finance the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s expansion from 140,000 square feet to more than 350,000 square feet. The museum’s expansion will include the ACM Contemporary Gallery, which will examine modern developments and current trends in country music.

For years, the Academy has been a generous supporter of the museum’s mission. In 2009, the ACM donated a lead gift of $300,000 to assist with the institution’s acquisition of four instruments integral to the creativity and cultural legacies of the late Maybelle Carter, Johnny Cash and Bill Monroe. The Academy has also provided support for the institution’s All for the Hall Los Angeles benefits, and the ACM is currently one of the sponsors of the museum’s new major exhibition, The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country. In addition, the Academy has donated usage of their entire photo database to the museum for exhibits and special installations.

“It is the Academy’s honor to help ensure that the history of country music can be told for generations to come,” said Bob Romeo, CEO of the Academy of Country Music. “We are able to make this kind of contribution only because of the incredible country music artists who give of their time for Academy charitable endeavors; we can’t thank them enough for the impact they have on our industry.”

“We are deeply indebted to the ACM for this wonderful gift, which will help us continue to fulfill our educational mission and serve our worldwide audience,” said Museum Director Kyle Young“The genre we chronicle is a living thing, constantly evolving; country music history is being made every day.  Great museums must remain relevant, and the ACM Contemporary Gallery will allow us to not only expand our examination and celebration of modern stars, important background players and new developments in the genre, but also to spotlight new artists, trends and issues as they break.” 

With Country Music Hall of Fame member Kris Kristofferson and Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford as honorary co-chairs, the museum launched its Working on a Building campaign in late July 2011; to date, $70 million in cash and pledges have been secured. Designed by Tuck-Hinton Architects, the expansion is expected to be completed in early 2014.